Monday, March 29, 2021

Fifteen feminist books that will inspire, enrage, & educate you

Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn.

At Esquire she tagged "fifteen books [by] feminist thinkers [who] interrogate everything from intersections of racism and misogyny to Pepe the Frog's deeper meaning to online enclaves of sexist men." One title on the list:
Circe, by Madeline Miller

Disparaging tales of witches, harpies, and other female monsters are burned into our cultural imagination, but in the lush, luminous pages of Circe, a minor sorceress from Homer’s Odyssey receives a long-overdue feminist reimagining. Miller charts the lesser goddess Circe’s exile to the enchanted island of Aiaia, where Circe’s prison soon becomes her paradise. For centuries, she lives a free, feral life, honing her divine gifts of witchcraft and transfiguration while bedding down with lions and wolves. When Odysseus is shipwrecked on Aiaia, Miller reimagines the power dynamics of their entanglement, chipping away at Homer’s fabled myth of one man's greatness to expose a selfish man as flawed as any other. In Miller’s masterful hands, a long-overlooked goddess steps into the spotlight, giving rise to a powerful story of independence and self-determination in a man’s world.
Read about another entry on the list.

Circe is among Ali Benjamin's top ten classic stories retold, Lucile Scott's eight books about hexing the patriarchy, E. Foley and B. Coates's top ten goddesses in fiction, Jordan Ifueko's five fantasy titles driven by traumatic family bonds, Eleanor Porter's top ten books about witch-hunts, Emily B. Martin's six stunning fantasies for nature lovers, Allison Pataki's top six books that feature strong female voices, Pam Grossman's thirteen stories about strong women with magical powers, Kris Waldherr's nine top books inspired by mythology, Katharine Duckett's eight novels that reexamine literature from the margins, and Steph Posts' thirteen top novels set in the world of myth.

--Marshal Zeringue